Electrotactile feedback for the discrimination of different surface textures using a microphone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Most commercial prosthetic hands lack closed-loop feedback, thus, a lot of research has been focusing on implementing sensory feedback systems to provide the user with sensory information during activities of daily living. This study evaluates the possibilities of using a microphone and electrotactile feedback to identify different textures. A condenser microphone was used as a sensor to detect the friction sound generated from the contact between different textures and the microphone. The generated signal was processed to provide a characteristic electrical stimulation presented to the participants. The main goal of the processing was to derive a continuous and intuitive transfer function between the microphone signal and stimulation frequency. Twelve able-bodied volunteers participated in the study, in which they were asked to identify the stroked texture (among four used in this study: Felt, sponge, silicone rubber, and string mesh) using only electrotactile feedback. The experiments were done in three phases: 1) Training, 2) with-feedback, 3) without-feedback. Each texture was stroked 20 times each during all three phases. The results show that the participants were able to differentiate between different textures, with a median accuracy of 85%, by using only electrotactile feedback with the stimulation frequency being the only variable parameter.


External organisations
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biomedical Laboratory Science/Technology


  • Electrotactile feedback, Feature extraction, Friction sound, Non-invasive stimulation, Texture sensor
Original languageEnglish
Article number3384
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 2
Publication categoryResearch